The Latest: Activist boat looks to challenge Gaza blockade

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The Latest: Activist boat looks to challenge Gaza blockade
In this photo released by the Hamas Media Office, Ismail Haniyeh, right, the head of the Hamas political bureau, shakes hands with his deputy Saleh Arouri upon his arrival in Gaza from Cairo, Egypt, in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. Egypt is trying to broker a broad cease-fire deal between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers that is to pave the way for Gaza's reconstruction and an eventual prisoner swap, senior Hamas officials said Thursday. Repeated cease-fire deals over the years collapsed, but there were signs of possible momentum toward a new agreement, after weeks of escalation along the Gaza-Israel frontier. (Mohammad Austaz/Hamas Media Office via AP)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

An activist boat challenging Israel’s naval blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza is approaching the territory.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group for pro-Palestinian and Islamic charities from around the world, said Friday the Swedish-flagged vessel, Freedom, was nearly 60 miles (95 kilometers) off the coast.

The boat and another vessel, which was intercepted by Israeli forces on Sunday, set sail to Gaza from Europe last week.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas took over the territory in 2007.

Activists have made several attempts to breach the blockade in recent years, most notably in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turks in a raid at sea.

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11 a.m.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas says exiled members of its decision-making political bureau have entered the territory for high-level discussions about an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal with Israel.

The Hamas website Safa said Friday this marks the first time all members of the political bureau have come together in Gaza. It says the delegation arriving from exile late Thursday included Saleh Arouri, a founder of the Hamas military wing wanted by Israel.

Hamas officials have said guarantees were given that the delegation would not be targeted by Israel and that progress has been made toward a truce that could pave the way for a U.N.-led reconstruction of Gaza.

Separately, Israel’s prime minister has put off a planned South America trip and called a special Cabinet meeting Sunday to monitor Gaza developments.